The Styles Clash hits harder than we’ve seen before in WWE in The Coolest Thing on Raw Last Night!
Welcome to Laser Time’s post-wrestling show article series that plucks out the best part of the biggest weekly wrestling program, Monday Night Raw. With three hours of programming, it can sometimes be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s where The Coolest Thing on Raw Last Night (or CTORLN) comes in. We pluck out the best part(s) and tell you exactly why it’s so awesome.
SAMI ZAYN AND KEVIN OWENS VS THE MIZ AND CESARO
This week’s Raw was a bit too bogged down by repeat matches from previous weeks (see: the precursor to The Coolest Thing on Raw Last Night listed below), and even though they’re part of the most interesting match at Extreme Rules, seeing the quartet of Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, and The Miz mix it up yet again had the possibility of running cold, especially when the intriguing singles match of Sami Zayn and Cesaro (who have torn it up in NXT against each other) got turned into the same tag match configuration we saw on Smackdown last week. Fortunately, this week had a better division, as former friends Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were forced to team together for the first time.
The wrestling was great as always, but what really made this tag match the best of the night was Owens’ continued brilliance as a heckling tag partner. From turning a Miz-directed “You can’t wrestle” chant into a goof on Zayn to berating Sami for slowly leaving the ring after a tag, Owens made the first Zayn-Owens team up as memorable as can be expected from an impromptu Teddy Long-style tag match. All I ask of Extreme Rules is that we see The Miz finally attempt a Giant Swing.
THE NEW DAY GOES BACK IN TIME
It’s usually the kiss of death when snarky heels turn face and try to keep up the comedy while playing to a new crowd, but The New Day have been doing a decent job of it. With a humorless team (in the form of The Vaudevillains) to bounce jokes off of, they’ve been able to stretch their good-guy comedy chops, and they picked the best possible way to do it for this time-travel fan when they employed a time machine to visit “the bygone era” represented by their old-timey Extreme Rules opponents.
As a Back to the Future obsessive, I loved all of the time travel references at play in this segment. The name of the machine alone (the New Day-lorean) brought a smile to my face, but the fun asides like reverting to Kofi’s Jamaican past and Booty-O’s going bygone made it even funnier. Heck, they even fit in a masturbation joke that wasn’t absolutely terrible! On top of that, they paid off the inclusion of a time machine by having the double-Vs attack The New Day and send its inventor head-first into his machinery.
THE COOLEST THING ON RAW LAST NIGHT:
AJ STYLES AND ROMAN REIGNS FACE OFF
Uneven Pay-Per-View record notwithstanding, AJ Styles himself has been booked pretty well since his debut at the Royal Rumble. Unfortunately, you can’t say as much about his biggest weapons; the Styles Clash and The Club. The former has been relegated to a B-level finisher, never getting the pin and eliciting angry reactions from Henry Gilbert. The latter has been exclusively fighting with The Usos and Roman Reigns, trading victories when they should be dominant. The main event in name only between The Club and The Usos didn’t make Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows look very strong, but the post-match brawl between Styles and Reigns makes their Extreme Rules match very intriguing.
Even though the Usos catch a lot of slack (some deserved) for a predictable moveset exacerbated by the fact that have been brawling with the same three dudes all month, the match itself built to a pretty good crescendo, where the Usos’ bread and butter of superkicks and splashes managed to build up some excitement. The match was better than expected, but the post-match brawling brought the segment to a new level. The Styles Clash has been rarely used since AJ’s debut, and this was likely the best (and most brutal) way we’ve seen it deployed since Styles’ WWE debut. I harbor no delusions that AJ Styles will walk out of Extreme Rules as WWE champ, but hopefully the night can make his move and/or Club look strong.
THE SICKEST MOVE FROM THE COOLEST THING ON RAW LAST NIGHT: